Good Practices and Guidelines

National Digital Stewardship Alliance Levels of Preservation

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance, or NDSA, is intended to be a relatively easy-to-use set of guidelines useful not only for those just beginning to think about preserving their digital assets, but also for institutions planning the next steps in enhancing their existing digital preservation systems and workflows. It allows institutions to assess the level of preservation achieved for specific materials in their custody, or their entire preservation infrastructure.  Visit to learn more.

Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative

Started in 2007, the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative, or FADGI, is a collaborative effort by federal agencies to define common guidelines, methods, and practices for digitizing historical content.

Sustainability of Digital Formats, Library of Congress

The analyses and resources presented on the Sustainability of Digital Formats site by the Library of Congress provide risk and sustainability information about digital content formats.

Guidelines for Digital Newspaper Preservation Readiness by Katherine Skinner and Matt Schultz

Part of the NEH-funded Chronicles in Preservation Project, the Guidelines for Digital Newspaper Preservation Readiness explicitly differentiates between the essential and the optimal in preservation readiness activities and documents the incremental steps that institutions may take to move from the essential to the optimal level of preservation readiness for their digital newspapers.


ISO 14721: Open Archival Information System

Born out of the need to preserve space research data, OAIS is the cornerstone of digital preservation. It is a high-level conceptual model for a system that would accept, preserve, and provide access to digital content.  It provides an overview of terminology that is used to discuss digital preservation.  OAIS began as recommended practices for participating space agencies and has been adopted by the ISO (see links, below).  It is not a standard; rather, it is a guideline for structuring digital preservation.  It is designed to be applicable to any archive or organization that creates materials that require long-term preservation.

Pre-ISO version: Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System, known as the “magenta book”, June 2012.

Official ISO standard: Space data and information transfer systems — Open archival information system (OAIS) — Reference model, September 2012


Trusted Digital Repositories (ISO 16363)

Formerly referred to as “TRAC,”  Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification, Trusted Digital Repositories is a guideline for assessing an organization’s ability to preserve digital collections and make them widely available. It provides a way for organizations to measure their level of compliance with the OAIS model of digital preservation, and includes checks for three areas of preservation: organizational infrastructure, digital object management, and technologies, technical infrastructure, and security.  See links below for more information

Pre-ISO version: Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist, February 2007

Official ISO standard: Space data and information transfer systems — Audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories, February 2012

ISO 16919: Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of candidate trustworthy digital repositories

ISO 16919 is a set of standards for setting up organizations that audit digital repositories and a guideline for assessing the ability to assess an organization.  It is meant to certify those who identify whether an organization is a trusted repository and uses the terminology and concepts set out in the OAIS model.  See links below for more information.

Pre-ISO version: Requirements for Bodies Providing Audit and Certification of Candidate Trustworthy Digital Repositories, known as the “red book”, October 2010 

Official ISO standard: Space data and information transfer systems — Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of candidate trustworthy digital repositories

PREMIS: Preservation Metadata Maintenance Activity

PREMIS was by an international team of experts and has been implemented in digital preservation projects around the world.  Support for PREMIS, which aims to be practical and useful to a wide range of institutions that create digital repositories, is incorporated into a number of commercial and open-source digital preservation tools and systems.